|The 1981 Buccaneer draft review|
The Bucs drafted 7th in the first round and then subsequent rounds saw them pick 6th and 7th alternatively due to tie-breakers.
1 - LB - Hugh Green - Pittsburgh - Excellent selection
A superb linebacker who was incredibly highly-rated coming out of college. Hampered by injuries in 1984, he was eventually traded to Miami in 1985 by Leeman Bennett but brought a 1st and 2nd round pick in return. Anchored the Buc defense along with Lee Roy Selmon for three solid seasons.
2 - RB - James Wilder - Missouri - Excellent pick
The finest offensive threat in franchise history - leads the Bucs in rushing and receptions and set NFL records for carries in a game and season during 1984.
3 - traded to L.A. Rams for G Greg Horton - Good trade
Spent two seasons starting on the offensive line including the 1979 NFC Central Division title winning team.
4 - CB - John Holt - West Texas State - Good pick
Solid if unspectacular cornerback who spent five seasons with the Buccaneers and started for three of them.
5 - traded to Oakland for QB Mike Rae - Good trade
Spent two seasons backing up Doug Williams and gave the Bucs a veteran presence behind the young starter in the process. Started five games when Williams was hurt in 1978.
6 - traded to New Orleans for P Tom Blanchard - Good trade
Trading this high a pick for a punter is always open to second guessing, but the veteran Blanchard was a solid dependable kicker for the Bucs for over two seasons before getting hurt.
7 - traded to Dallas for DE Dave Stalls - Good trade
Led the 1982 strike-shortened season team in sacks and provided a decent pass-rush threat before bolting to the USFL after the 1983 season. Was a good friend of Bucs UK member Ross Biddiscombe.
8 - T - Denver Johnson - Tulsa - Wasted pick
Never played a down for the Buccaneers. Never played football in the NFL at all. Had been an All-Missouri Valley Conference selection as a senior and was also named Tulsa's Outstanding Athlete that year too.
9 - QB - Mike Ford - SMU - OK pick
Spent two seasons as the Bucs' No.3 QB but never saw any regular season action. In spite of limited playing time through injury as a junior and senior, he was still eighth on the all-time NCAA passing yardage list when he graduated.
10 - DE - Ken McCune - Texas - Wasted pick
Never played a down for the Buccaneers. Never played football in the NFL at all. Had 15 sacks in his senior year. Left Buc camp voluntarily in 1981 but returned the following year without success then either.
11 - CB - Johnny Ray Smith - Lamar - OK pick
Any late round pick who makes the team is a good one and Smith was with the Bucs until the end of the 1983 season as a special teamer and nickel back.
12 - DT - Brad White - Tennesse - Good pick
Followed fellow nose tackle David Logan in making the team from his 12th round selection. Played in every game during his career as a Buc but never made a start and never recorded a sack. Was also a state champion wrestler whilst at high school in Idaho.
Summing up 1981|
Two picks, two superstars in Green and Wilder. Hence a definite A grade. Holt was a starter, Smith and White both played three seasons, and all the trades proved to be solid ones too. A shame that the Bucs then went five straight seasons picking terribly until 1987 after this good year.